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The Situation Room

News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting and online resources update international news. New.

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Us 37, U.s. 20, Ethan 16, Cnn 13, Chris Christie 13, Christie 11, Fbi 11, S&p 10, Syria 9, United States 8, Beyonce 8, America 8, Alabama 8, Washington 8, Clinton 8, Entergy 7, Eric Cantor 6, Schwab Bank 6, Geico 6, Texas 6,
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  CNN    The Situation Room    News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting  
   and online resources update international news. New.  

    February 5, 2013
    1:00 - 3:59pm PST  

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and a brand new study shows you why it's a brad idea to mix alcohol and diet soda. i'm wolf blitzer and you're in "the situation room." we begin this hour with president obama's very public attempt to pressure congress into putting off billions of dollars in automatic spending cuts, cuts he fears will wreck the u.s. economic recovery. basically he wants lawmakers to kick the can down the road one more time. let's go to our white house correspondent dan lothian. dan is joining us. dan, the president made a little bit of a surprise appearance over in the white house briefing room. >> reporter: that's right. very surprising because the president in the past has criticized these short-term deals saying that this is not what the american people sent their elected officials to washington to do.
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you have this march 1st deadline quickly approaching. while congress is trying to work on a bigger budget, 1 pine point $2 trillion package, the president says they need more time in order to continue tipping away at the problem. the big concern is that everyone believes that the economy is moving in the right direction. the president is pointing to auto sales, the housing, to manufacturing. and so there's this worry that if this see quester happens, if these deep cuts happen then it could be a major set back for the u.s. economy. the president is saying the threat already is kauszing a lot of uncertainty in the marketplace. >> we've also seen the effects that political dysfunction can have on our economic progress. the drawn out process for resolving the fiscal cliff hurt consumer confidence. the threat of massive automatic cuts have already started to affect business decisions. so we've been reminded that
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while it's critical for us to cut wasteful spending, we can't just cut our way to prosperity. deep, indiscriminate cuts to energy and national security will cost us jobs and it will slow down our recovery. it's not the right thing to do for the economy. >> the president, of course, still wants a bigger deal here. in the meantime he wants a short-term fix of spending cuts and tax revenue. republicans, of course, are not happy with this strategy. one senator saying that the president needs to get serious about this pointing out that americans don't want anymore tax increases. >> it's a huge issue. dan lothian at the white house. thank you. also at the white house today the president has been meeting with labor and business leaders to push his plans for comprehensive immigration reform. later this hour i'll speak with one of the people who are inside that meeting with the president, the goldman sachs ceo, lloyd
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blackfine. he'll be in "the situation room." we'll hear from a rising star, san antonio mayor, julio castro who came to discuss fixing immigration. all of that coming up. at the same time, the president was speaking to reporters at the white house. the republicans number two man in the house of representatives was in the middle of his speech debuting the republican party new message to voters. eric cantor gave our chief congressional correspondent dana bash a preview. listen to this. >> there's a lot of lessons to be learned from the last election and, you know, frankly there are a lot of moms and dads out there that are hurting right now. a lot of working people are having a real struggle trying to get through the month and too many americans out of work. i think what we all need to do is focus on how we're going to make life work for those people again. >> our chief political analyst, gloria borger, is here.
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what is eric cantor trying to accomplish now? >> he's trying to reshape the republican party. they've got to rethink their strategy and that bite that you just showed really illustrates it, wolf. i was talking to one republican strategist today about eric cantor's speech and the entire process that's going on in the republican party, and he said, quote, we need to finish the sentence. the republican party spent over a billion dollars trying to sell mitt romney and to the american people, and they didn't finish the sentence. what we see him going back to is that growth and opportunity message personalized beyond we need to cut government, we need to cut the debt. >> there seemed to be some serious divisions within the republican party right now, the tea party faction right now. how much influence does it have? >> i think it has to say that the tea party has receded a bit. i'm not saying they have
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disappeared, it has not, but it's receded a little bit into the background. there's lots of decentralized grassroots groups often do. it's given the house speaker and eric cantor a little bit more breathing room to do things they may have wanted to do from early on, particularly the speaker which has cut a deal on the fiscal cliff, pushed back the debt ceiling issue so that they can breathe a little bit and try and move away from just these fiscal sues. now on the horizon there are lots of house republicans, particularly younger ones, who say let's cut the defense budget, let those automatic spending cuts take place, and there are lots of senior republicans who say, not so fast. so that's going to be a problem within the republican party as we look ahead. >> where does karl rove and his new super pac fit into that? >> did you ever think republicans would call him a rhino, republican in name only.
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here you go. i've always thought of karl rove as a conservative. what's going on is his pac has said, you know what, we are tired of someone associated with his pac said to me, quote, the novelty of losing elections has worn off, and what they've decided to do is to start putting their money in primaries. they want to vet republican primary candidates so that by the time they get to the general election they believe they have qualified vetted candidates who can actually win. conservatives are saying, this is not what you should do. you need to let the process work itself out and american crossroads is saying, don't sacrifice ideological purity here. you can't worship at that. what you really need to do is win elections and that's what they say their political action committee is about. so there is a fight brewing on that front as well. >> they're trying to learn some lessons from what happened in missouri and indiana in the last cycle, for example. >> absolutely. >> when you had candidates who won the primary but couldn't win a general election. >> yeah.
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they say it could have been avoided in both of those races. they also say, look, we have contributed to lots of conservative candidates. for example, ran paul. they gave more money to ran paul than anybody else, but it is a fight that will continue. >> happened in nevada, color rad did he and delaware in 2010. karl rove trying to learn a lesson. thanks very much, gloria, for that. let's go to new orleans right now where it turns out there were plenty, yes, plenty of warning signs that the superdome wasn't necessarily completely ready for sunday's super bowl. as we learn more about the blackout that delayed the game for almost 35 minutes, we found one memo actually predicting a critical piece of electrical equipment had, and i'm quoting now, a chance of failure. brian todd is in new orleans, he's following the investigation for us. what's the latest, brian? >> reporter: one city official tells us this is the most analyzed piece of electricity in history.
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we do have new information on concerns about the power supply in the month leading up to the super bowl. in the months leading up to super bowl xlvii, there were worries and warnings among superdome officials about the stadium's power situation. that's from memos from the superdome management group. october 15th, 2012, a memo from pat toppler refers to transient spikes in loads in the system that had previously occurred. >> the concern whether the connection point from the grid to the superdome was reliable. this memo says a test determined that the power feeder line had some decay and had a chance of failure. >> a letter five days before that from an outside engineer hired by the superdome said based on test results, the superdome's main and only electrical feed are not sufficiently liable to support the high profile event schedule.
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>> and in response to that entergy and superdome services constructed a whole new vault that the concerns that were brought out in those memos were addressed. we will have the analysis and the data on friday hopefully. >> reporter: do you know if it functioned properly? >> i don't have that information right now. that's why the company that that equipment belongs to, they're coming in to analyze their -- their equipment. >> reporter: a vault is the structure that houses switching gear for power feed lines. city council woman cynthia hedge morell has called an emergency meeting. according to minutes of meetings obtained by cnn, hundreds of thousands of dollars were allocated to upgrade the lines into the superdome. one person says it was done in december of 2012. what's the culprit? it could be a switch gear. entergy says one switch gear
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tripped due to an anomaly. power was rerouted to the superdome through an auxiliary line, but all the systems needed to be rebooted before it came on line and the game could resume. it's bringing the switch gear maker on site to determine if that was the cause. >> all parties involved, not only the owners of the equipment, the people that developed the equipment, we have all of them coming in. everybody's going to analyze their equipment. we have the real time data from entergy because that's done on a minute-to-minute basis. >> reporter: and we're told this afternoon that the power company, entergy, along with the superdome's management group, are planning to hire an i independent third party manager to analyze that. >> what about the accounts that suggest that beyonce's rehearsal tripped the power during the week before the super bowl?
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>> reporter: those are anecdotal accounts, wolf, that we got yesterday and today on the ground. we heard from cbs analyst, boomer ee psy a san, out of new york that he heard the same thing. we've been pestering people. nobody has said anything about this. we're checking it out now. the nfl does promise us an answer on this soon. maybe they're investigating that as well. >> brian todd investigating himself in new orleans for all of us, doing excellent work as he always does. brian, thank you. we're also learning new details about yesterday's dramatic new rescue of a boy who had been kidnapped and held in an underground bunker for a week. the rescue involved a secret camera and an fbi special rescue team. martin savidge is joining us. martin, what have you learned? >> reporter: wolf, authorities still are not allowing the media any access to where the rescue took place or the bunker where
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the little boy was held for a week. they're citing that's still the crime scene. they also say there are other explosive devices and that could be a safety hazard. they're not saying anything about the rescue, only that it worked. we have been able through a number of sources to piece together what happened and take a look. for days as the command center in a nearby church continued to grow, authorities remained in constant communication with jimmy lee dykes reportedly speaking through a pipe that ran into his bunker. dykes even allowed authorities to deliver comfort items through the hatch. >> he allowed us to provide color books, medication, toys. >> reporter: dykes was said to be caring for the boy, providing even an electric heater and blankets to keep him warm, leaving the authorities to take the unusual step of taking care of the boy. >> i want to thank him for taking care of our child.
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>> all seemed fine until sunday afternoon when negotiators noticed a change in his behavior. >> reporter: law enforcement sources on the scene say a special camera was used to monitor what was going on inside the bunker. meanwhile, highly trained fbi hostage rescue teams like this one in an fbi training video took turns on stand by around the clock. sources say those rescue teams practiced their assault on a mockup of dykes' bunker. monday authorities continue to monitor the change in dykes demeanor. publicly they gave no clue. but hinted he had a motive. >> he had a story that was very complex. >> reporter: a team was quietly put on alert and brought in. then came the critical moment. >> mr. dykes was observed -- was observed holding a gun. >> reporter: that's when the hrt
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team struck. byron martin is a neighbor. >> i heard a big boom and then i heard -- i believe i heard rifle shots. >> fbi agents fearing the child was in imminent danger entered the bunker and rescued the child. >> reporter: sources tell cnn they tossed flash bang bombs into the bunker. they shot the gunman multiple times killing him. 5-year-old ethan was unharmed. it was all over for seconds. for a clearly exhausted dale county sheriff, wally olson, it was a relief. >> we appreciate everybody in law enforcement pulling together to get this job done. thank you. >> reporter: in a lot of ways, wolf, that was the culmination of hundreds of law enforcement officers working to rescue that little boy, not to mention probably thousands of prayers from people within this community. >> people not only in the
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community, all over the country, dairy say all over the world. people were watching this case very, very closely. so let's look a little bit ahead. where do we all go from here now that it has been resolved? >> reporter: of course, the biggest concern is for ethan himself. tomorrow, by the way, he will turn 6. there's a big celebration. in fact, this park is going to be part of a candlelight vigil. they were having candlelight vigils efrp night while he was in captivity. this is another candlelight vigil to wish him happy birthday and to embrace the fact that he's alive. >> we'd like to wish him happy birthday not only from me and you but from all of our viewers in "the situation room." thank you for that report. stay with cnn for more on what may be ahead for this little alabama boy and his family. later tonight john walsh will join anderson cooper alive.
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tonight ac 360 8:00 p.m. eastern. one of bill clinton's former doctors has a significant warning for the new jersey governor chris christie. the governor keeps treating his weight as if it's something to laugh about, but this doctor is not very happy about that. >> announcer: "the situation room" by wolf blitzer is brought to you by v8 fusion juice. could have had a v8. [ male anno] how about v8 v-fusion. a full serving of vegetables, a full serving of fruit. but what you taste is the fruit. so even you... could've had a v8.
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new jersey's republican governor chris christie is trying to laugh off what potentially could be a problem as he seeks re-election this year, possibly runs for the white house in 2016. let's bring in our national political correspondent, jim acosta. he's walking into the situation room right now. it's a sensitive subject, i admit. what's the latest. >> this is a serious situation, wolf. he is taking it lightly. he may be able to take the punch
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lines about his waistline, but with him up for re-election and a potential candidate for 2016, the question is how long can he laugh it off. i talked to a former white house doctor today who warns that his health is like a ticking time bomb. >> reporter: sitting down with late night talk show host david letterman, chris christie made light of a difficult subject. >> i've made jokes about you, not just one or two, here or there, intermittent, but -- >> reporter: in a sign the popular new jersey governor may be weighing a bid in 2016, he tried to give himself a clean bill of health. >> basically the healthiest fat guy you've ever seen. >> reporter: it's no laughing matter to dr. connie mariano. >> i worry that he may have a stroke or a heart attack unless he addresses that before office.
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>> reporter: mariano, who helped president bill clinton with his own battle of the bulge, wants christie to run, preferably on a treadmill. >> i'm a republican. i like chris christie a lot. i want him to run. i want him to lose weight. i worry about this man dying in office. >> i want to see you all moving, right? >> reporter: dr. mariano says michelle obama's antiobesity agenda is a great campaign. >> we have the ideas and we have the desire to start solving america's childhood obesity problem. >> reporter: but the nation is already getting a preview of a corp pew lant commander in chief this spring when the washington national's unveils its president. william taft. he was so huge he once got stuck
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in the presidential bathtub. >> christi threw his weight around. >> reporter: as for christie whose size became an issue in the last election, he indicated he has a plan to lose those extra pounds. >> i'm making the best effort i can. sometimes i'm successful and other times i'm not. >> christie is still being koichicoy about whether he would run. that may depend on whether he weighs more or less in the coming years. wolf, you should note that chris christie said at this news conference a little while ago that his own doctor has said his luck is going to run out if he doesn't start losing weight. >> got to lose some weight, that's clear. he's incredibly popular in new jersey. >> that's right. you could tell last night on david letterman, he knows how to have a good time and he knows how to have fun with himself. that is a very good asset for a presidential candidate. as his doctor warned, you can't run for president and have these
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kinds of health issues looming down the road. >> i agree. got to lose a few pounds. >> maybe more than a few. >> thank you. immigration is getting more attention in washington. so is a new rising star in the democratic party. we're talking about the san antonio mayor, castro. he's here in washington in "the situation room." get ready to talk about a hot button issue when we come back. why not make the day unforgettable? with two times the points on travel, from taxis to trains. you'll be asking why not, a lot. chase sapphire preferred. there's more to enjoy.
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full-court press when it comes to comprehensive immigration reform. president obama called labor and business leaders to discuss a comprehensive deal. they're meeting at the white house right now. on capitol hill some house
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republicans are exploring a piece meal approach. among those testifying against that, a rising star in the democratic party. julian castro is joining us now, the mayor of san antonio. thank for joining us. >> thanks for having me. >> will there be comprehensive immigration reform here in the united states any time soon? >> i sure hope so. i was encouraged by some of the comments by i think some of the more moderate representatives on the committee who are willing to consider comprehensive immigration reform. it's hard work. i told them it's not going to be easy. it was also clear that you have some who clearly are not going to support comprehensive immigration reform, but i do believe that this is the best shot that we've had in quite a while to get comprehensive immigration reform done. >> listen to representative spencer bachus. he says you're not going to get comprehensive immigration reform, he says you have to get 2 a piece meal deal. listen to this. >> let's not let the more
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comprehensive ideas prevent us from this year, this month, in the next two or three months passing something to address what is a horrible situation in this country, unless we're training people to go back to their countries and compete against us. >> he wants a piece meal. he doesn't want the whole package. are you ready to pass what is acceptable instead of going for the whole nine yards? >> unfortunately, the entire system is broken and the best way to ensure that the fix is effective is to do the entire thing right now from enhancing border security to ensuring that employers know when they're hiring somebody that that person is here legally to dealing with the very real issue of the 11 million people who are already here, who aren't going anywhere. so i believe that the best path is comprehensive immigration reform. >> some are worried, some of the critics, some of the conservatives, republicans by and large, that it's going to be way too expensive for the
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american taxpayers. i'll play another clip. this is representative louis gomer from texas. >> people in texas, the chamber wants to look the other way sometimes on people coming in illegally if they're working providing cheap labor that the rest of americans are paying for the health care of those who come in if they're coming in illegally. >> what do you say to that argument? >> it's not a great argument because the best way to ensure that folks pay for health care is to ensure that they actually are legal so that you know who they are, so that they don't just end up using the emergency room as their primary care physician but they're more likely to avoid that kind of huge cost. so in texas, fringes, a few years ago the state controller did an analysis that said undocumented immigrants actually put in more to the system than they take away. >> the other argument that they're making on the financial
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said is they'll come in let's say 11 million undocumented immigrants and they'll pay some taxes but they're going to be draining a lot more from the u.s. economy and the benefits of social security, medicare, medicaid down the road, that will be a horrendous financial burden overall on the american taxpayer. >> the analyses that have been done of this bipartisan across the spectrum analyses have suggested that putting these folks on a path to citizenship would be a net benefit to the economy, not a drag. for instance, many pay them social security taxes. they worked and money is taken out of their paycheck but they're never able to take advantage of that. we want them to pay more in taxes. we also want them like anyone who is a citizen to, you know, at some point avail themselves of those benefits. >> down the road? >> sure. >> is there a significant difference between you a rising
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star in the democratic party and marco rubio, a rising star in the republican party, when it comes to this reform? >> my hope is that senator rubio will work with other democrats and other republicans and president obama to forge this compromise and prevail upon the house of representatives to pass something that is similar. >> you studied his plan, i assume? >> yeah, and i know there's a little bit of difference, but hopefully the framework is the same and it includes dealing with these three big issues, including a pathway to citizenship. >> mayor castro, thanks very much for coming into the situation room. we hope you'll come back. >> thanks a lot. >> appreciate it. as they say, one picture equals a thousand words. what might this website be saying? i'm lorenzo.
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others. joining us from the north lawn of the white house is the goldman sachs chairman and ceo, lloyd blackfine. he's just emerged from that meeting. lloyd, thanks for coming in. what was accomplished? >> i think the president did his views on immigration and the specific plan and the ceos responded very positively. i think this has been a core interest of the business community and i think the ceos are getting what they wanted. >> are you on board with what the president describes as comprehensive immigration reform? in other words, is there any daylight between what you support and what he supports -- what he wants congress to do? >> i think there are general principles that are being espoused oat this point. i haven't seen any details where people can diverge. i would say what we hear coming out of the senate, the bipartisan group, is pretty much in line with a comprehensive plan to allow businesses in this country to attract people, the kind of talent that will help
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drive their businesses and create other businesses and in turn create jobs for people who already live in this country and also provide a path to citizenship for undocumented aliens. >> if 11 million or so of these undocumented immigrants here in the united states have an opportunity to go over some hurdles, pay back taxes, make sure they haven't committed any crimes, learn english, do all those things that the president is recommending, how will bringing them openly publicly legally into the american economy benefit the american economy? >> well, on that side of it, you know, clearly on the side of the specific skill set where you're trying to get a specific person to fulfill a specific skill, that's quite clear. on the rest of it, the people who are already here and those who would seek immigration to the united states, again, down the road are productive people who by definition are coming
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here to work so they're generally motivated to work. they come here. they generate income. they buy things and they take very little resources out and i think the most -- every study that looked at this says those people right now are contributing more to the american economy than they're taking away from it in goods and services, but the bottom line, wolf, is they're already here. it's just a fact on the ground and we have to deal with that fact. so getting that -- getting them done, getting them to pay back taxes, getting them to stand in line, legalizing the position that they're already occupying is a good thing for them, but it's a good thing for the country and the economy. >> it's a big business and wall street, you're obviously one of the top players on wall street, are they pretty much in line with your position based on what you've heard? >> based on what i heard. i can't speak for others, but i think those that have interests similar to ours, and i expect them to have similar views. look, at the end of the day we're a service business.
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our big input into the product that we produce is people and tall length. the idea that we could get talented people and we don't accept them is a big -- is very hard to -- very hard to explain. let me tell you, i was in china recently and i was talking to the head of the big chinese company, it was also a minister in the government, and i said, you chinese are so lucky because in your businesses you could draw on 1.3 billion people. and he said to me, you americans are luckier still because you get to draw on 7 billion people. that is all the people in the world would gladly come to this country to work if you'd let them. by the way, including many of the chinese. so at the end of the day we have to have a process for accepting them. people have to wait in line. it has to be done legally, but we're crazy if we don't take advantage of this great asset which is the draw of the american dream. >> let me get your quick reaction on an unrelated story. the justice department filing a civil lawsuit against standard &
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poor's for supposedly cooking the books, if you will, helping to create that climate which resulted in the economic collapse in 2007, it you 2008. a bunch of attorneys generals are filing suits. do you want to talk about what's going on? >> i wish i could. i'll go back and i'll read the papers. i'm not in a position to do that. >> fair enough. lloyd blackfein, thank you for coming in. always appreciate having you on "the situation room." >> my pleasure. the former secretary of state, hillary clinton's website, is getting a bit of buzz. joining us is kate bolduan who's here in "the situation room." kate, is this a precursor? what's going on? a lot of us political pun danlts out there are talking about it. >> more than political pun danlts. there are so many people wondering what's next for hillary clinton. she's been off the job for all of a few days now and the 2016
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intrigue is moving full speed ahead. the latest example, as you mentioned, a new website. hillary clinton office.com. it is a very simple layout. a dark blue background with a large, very flattering photo, some might even argue a presidential like photo of hillary clinton. it gives no clues as to what it means. to call it bare bones is really almost a stretch. all you can do, we all looked at it today, all you can do is click on an expandible contact form. submit a scheduling request, a plead yeah inquiry or offer a comment or a question. but just as interesting, and what really has this town buzzing, if you go to clinton's old 2008 campaign website, it redirects you now to this new site. the purchaser of the domain name for the new website is anonymous, but no one is obviously questioning the authenticity of the new site. it's linked off of her official 2008 campaign website. on another note, the new site
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was registered on january 31st just as clinton was leaving office. she, of course, is offering no clue as to her future white house aspirations. she spoke with cnn as she was heading out of office. listen. >> you know, i am out of politics right now and i don't know everything i'll be doing. i'll be working on behalf of, you know, women and girls. i'll be hopefully writing and speaking. those are the things that i'm planning to do right now. >> reporter: so as for the website, some see it as a place holder for things to come. some see it as a smart way to build on the contact database she built. maybe nothing more than a way for people to reach out to the former secretary of state. either way, this simple website is doing nothing, zippo, nada to quiet the speculation. wolf, i'll tell you, i submitted a question to the website. i have not heard back.
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>> i did too. i invited her to come join us in "the situation room." i'm waiting for a response. it's hillary clinton office.com. >> reporter: hillary clinton office.com. if you go to hillary clinton.com and you can click on it and it will go to this. >> nice picture. there she is. hillary clinton. let her rest for a while. >> for at least a couple of more days. >> she'll recharge her batteries and then we'll see what she says. >> reporter: then we'll continue to wait and watch and watch for that announcement. >> she'll accept my request to come to the situation room. >> reporter: first thing. >> i went to the website, i hit submit. >> reporter: you did what they asked. >> we'll see if we get a response. the boy scouts are talking about a huge change in the controversial ban on gays. (dog) larry,larry,larrryyy.
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the boy scouts of america today began talks that could lead to a landmark change in the organization's long standing ban on gays. the executive board is meeting near dallas. cnn's casey wian is on the scene for us. what's the latest, casey? >> reporter: well, wolf, there's a potentially historic vote happening tomorrow morning on the future of the boy scouts on the issue of gays in scouting. they're proposing a compromise. >> reporter: leaders of religious organizations that sponsor about a million boy scouts and activists pressuring the boy scouts of america to end its ban on openly gay scouts and scout masters can agree on one thing, they're not satisfied with the boy scouts proposal to leave the issue up to local troops. >> we believe that this is going to be -- if they make this
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decision, it's going to be a catastrophe for the boy scouts. >> we don't want to see the scouting gerrymandered into blue and red districts so the best solution would be to end discrimination outright. >> the boy scouts won't discuss their policy proposal, but the organization has told leaders of religious groups that the change is motivated by pressure from corporate donors. more than a dozen, including ibm, merck, and american airlines have pulled funding from the boy scouts according to scouting for all, a group pushing for an end to the scouts' gay ban. >> what they've said to us and other religious leaders is we're doing this under pressure and we're going to give people basically what amounts to a local option. you can't have a local option of a core conviction. in 2000 the supreme court said that the boy scouts did not have to have homosexual scout masters because their belief about sexual morality was a core value. if you make it a local option, it's no longer a core value and
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the courts will revisit this. >> reporter: jennifer tyrell was a scout leader ousted. >> if they can decide, it's 6 course a great first step and we would be appreciative of that step and acknowledgment. it will mean that there is more work to be done. >> reporter: even before the controversy over admitting gays, the boy scouts were seeing a decline in membership which dropped by 1/3 since 1999. >> reporter: now the scout master of a dallas troop, he didn't want to appear on camera, but he told us that some of the parents of his troop members say that they will actually leave scouting if the boy scouts do approve gay members, but those who oppose this policy of exclusion say allowing gays to be both scouts and scout masters is the only way this organization can survive, wolf. >> casey wian watching the story, we'll see what happens. in the next hour we'll have a debate on whether or not the boy
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scouts should shift its policy. two passionate people on both sides of the argument will join us. a new study suggests alcohol and diet sodas are a bad mix. we have details. it's a new day. if your a man with low testosterone, you should know that axiron is here. the only underarm treatment for low t. that's right, the one you apply to the underarm. axiron is not for use in women or anyone younger than 18. axiron can transfer to others through direct contact. women, especially those who are or who may become pregnant, and children should avoid contact where axiron is applied
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new study shows down side to mixing alcohol and diet soda. senior medical correspondent elizabeth cohen is joining us to explain what's going on. >> alcohol and diet soda may taste fine but it may not be so good for your brain. . it's no secret soda can add to your ways line. >> i have a mali but and diet coke. >> that's why many drinkers
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choose to mix their alcohol with a diet soda instead. >> it cuts down the sweetness and calories too. >> they usually tell me that they're watching their weight. that's the number one reason. >> watching my middle. >> reporter: alcohol with regular soda and alcohol with diet soda. it may impact your brain very different. >> what we found is when you mix alcohol with a diet soft drink you achieve a higher blood alcohol concentration than you would with a regular soft drink mixer. >> this is how the researchers did the study. they had college students drink four vodka drinks with regular soda. they waited 40 minutes, gave them a breathalyzer test, and they passed it, but then on a different day they had those students drink about the same drinks but this time with diet soda. so they saved 132 calories but they failed the breathalyzer test. because they were drinking diet soda, it was as if they were
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getting an extra shot glass of alcohol. >> reporter: the diet drinkers didn't realize they were more drunk, but tests showed their responses were, indeed, more repaired. they would be more likely, for example, to get into a car accident. why would alcohol with diet soda get you drunker faster? >> there's no sugar in it so it goes through the stomach a lot faster. the diet mixer kind of fast forwards the digestion process of sending the alcohol into the bloodstream. >> so, in other words, without the sugar, the alcohol goes to your hd faster. >> yes. you should probably mix your alcohol with a sugar sweetened mixer as opposed to a diet one. >> sure, it's extra calories, but you'll also be drinking safer. >> what about just drinking liquor straight, elizabeth? what do the studies show? >> wolf, the researcher told us that would be the same as drinking alcohol with a diet soda. your body is only metabolizing the alcohol. it's better to drink it with a sugar ri soda or even better to
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drink it with food so that way the alcohol doesn't hit your bloodstream so quickly and strongly. >> so you're better off, in other words, having rum and coke as opposed to rum and diet coke, is that what the study is showing? >> right. that's what the study is showing, that as far as ineven breeation goes, you're better off with having some of that sugar. you won't be quite as drunk quite as fast. >> elizabeth cohen, fascinating study. thank you. a new video from north korea raising eye browns. it shows the united states city in ruins. an update on a popular olympic skier who was severely injured in a fall today. when we built the cadillac ats from the ground up to be the world's best sport sedan... ♪ ...people noticed. ♪ the all-new cadillac ats -- 2013 north american car of the year. ♪ for a limited time, take advantage of this exceptional offer on the all-new cadillac ats.
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then you're going to love this. right now they're only $14.95! wow-a grt deal just got a whole lot better. hurry. $14.95 won't last. a. video just came out of north korea lisa sylvester is monitoring that and other stories in "the situation room." what's going on? >> wolf, north korea has come out with a pretty bizarre and ominous video and it is obviously propaganda. that's going to be disturbing for some to see, but this video shows a u.s. city in flames in a scene similar to 9/11. it has had tens of thousands of
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hits after it was released on saturday. in other news, officials in washington are confirming the justice department document justifying assassination of u.s. citizens over seas if they pose an imminent threat. a drone strike killed a u.s. born muslim cleric. we will have a full report on this. doctors in austria seau limb pick champion skier lindsay vaughn does not need immediate surgery on the knee injury she suffered during the alpine skiing championship. the 22-year-old was air lifted from the racetrack. vaughn is going to be out for the rest of the season but we are certainly glad that that injury was not more serious. she sounds like she's going to be just fine, wolf. >> indeed, lisa. thank you. and you're in "the situation
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room." happening now, a new message for the grand old party. >> we've got to be about helping folks make their life work again. >> a potentially life saving new tool in future hostage crisis -- crises. military micro drones, and the ban on gay boy scouts. we're going to debate it with the head of the southern baptist convention and a former scout who wants the organization open to all. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." for republicans it was a shocking defeat that caught so many of their leaders at the highest levels off guard. many were stunned by president obama's november re-election, convinced that the struggling economy, the president's
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lackluster debate performance would give them the edge, but they lost every demographic except white men. and the gop has spent the weeks since then trying to figure out how to make itself more appealing to the new face of america. the house republican leader, eric cantor, unveiled his party's new approach at a closely watched speech today here in washington. but beforehand he gave a preview to our chief congressional correspondent, dana bash. >> reporter: why do the house republicans need an extreme makeover? >> you know, i'm not agreeing with the statement we need an extreme makeover. what i think is that there's a lot of lessons to be learned from the last election, and, you know, frankly there are a lot of moms and dads out there that are hurting right now, a lot of working people that are having a real struggle trying to get through the month, and too many millions of americans out of work, and i think what we all need to do is to focus on how we're going to make life work for those people again. >> you mentioned the last
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election. across the board i don't need to tell you republicans, specifically mitt romney, did poorly with every single demographic except white men. that's a problem. >> well, certainly. and i think that what you saw is republicans maintain a majority in the house because we've been true to the kind of principles that i think most americans believe in, and it is facing the individual, accountability in government, not spending money you don't be have. >> and has that been a problem, that, you know, we've heard from republicans, we want to shrink the government, we want to shrink the deficit but not the why. >> i definitely think we are about solving the big problems, macro fiscal problems. the president hasn't joined us. but the reason we're doing that is we want to help people. we don't want to see interest rates skyrocket. what's that going to do to people who are already struggling to pay their mortgage? we don't want to see taxes go up anymore. what's that going to do to somebody who already has now just experienced a tax hike.
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we want to make life work again, and the path to do that does include trying to get a handle on the fiscal situation here in washington, but it also means putting in place policies that help people with their health care costs, their education needs, college tuition and the rest. >> you want to make people's lives better. some might ask how you can do that and still slash the federal budget the way you want to slash in order to meet your other goal, which is to reduce the deficit. >> well, again, these are, you know, things that we're trying to do all to benefit americans, right? and i think if you take the sort of suggestion that somehow you just keep spending money at the federal level and that's going to make life better for people, my goodness, we should have it pretty good right now given that we're spending a trillion dollars a year more than we have. i don't think that's the answer. >> one last question. how do you answer skeptics who say, here's eric cantor out there again with his third or fourth plan to try to remake the
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image of republicans who may need an image makeover? >> all i know is i met joseph kelly yesterday whose kids go to the d.c. preparatory school. i don't think he cares or thinks about rebranding or repositioning or anything. what he cares about is the fact that his life and the life for his daughters has gotten a lot better since the d.c. preparatory school admitted them in. that's the in that we've got to be about. we've got to be about helping folks make their lives work again. >> let's discuss what we just heard with our chief national correspondent, john king. john, does eric cantor seem to have a pretty good prescription to help the gop. >> good luck to him. as a guy who loves the vibrant political debate, it would be nice if the republicans improved their image. as eric cantor looks to move the republicans, the big challenge is can you do this when you're a leader of the party in the branch? he has to get into partisan fights with the president. he has to deal with the tough
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task, speaker boehner and he has to deal with managing their own coalition. as you look traditionally through time, the best thing he can do is help the republican party in congress stop hurting the party's image. the democrats have the same image in congress. the republicans do get blamed for obstructing the president's agenda. if they could help stop the bleeding, that would be progress. if you look historically overtime, when the republican party was having a crisis, it was ronald reagan. they re-created a republican brand. when the democrats are in trouble in the late 80s and early 90s, it was a governor, bill clinton. so traditionally when parties go through losses like this, the next guy to ride in on a horse is this? >> which republican governors should we be looking at? >> there are a whole host of them. >> if you look at the map, there are 30 republican governors. they still have 30 of the states out there. you have a new jersey race in
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2013. you have a virginia race in 2013. those will be two races that will be closely watched. in 2014 a lot of this rising class of republican governors are running for re-election, chris christie, potentially a 2016. john kasich of ohio. suzanna martinez. she was thought of as a mitt romney running mate. a latina. a lot of big battleground states, a lot of interesting politicians will be on the ballot in 2013 and 2014. it is those races where you tend to find the next generation leadership in a party. there are many in congress in both parties who say senator obama became president obama. if you look to take a broader historical view of the new faces, the re-energizing the party, if you will. >> marco rubio, paul ryan. they may be upset. >> they might. >> they're pretty ambitious guys themselves. >> they'll be busy too. in some ways that complicates eric cantor's task. paul ryan is his friend. marco rubio, they have ambitions
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as well. it's hard. whether it's internally or externally thinking about the presidency. >> you make a great historic point about governors. thanks so much. john king reporting. we're just getting in some new information from the nfl about that power outage that disrupted the super bowl for more than half an hour. brian todd is in new orleans. he's working the story. what are you picking up, brian? >> reporter: wolf, just got word from the nfl and from one of the managers of the superdome that there were at least power fluctuations during beyonce's rehearsal in the week leading up to the super bowl. this statements fleeds part, during rehearsals there were some fluctuations in the frequency of the power supply but not in the amount of the power supply to the building. frequency of -- frequency fluctuations can present problems for sensitive technology including high definition television cameras.
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there were no power outages at the rehearsal. that was from the nfl talking about fluctuations in the power in the superdome during rehearsals. we got word from doug thornton, the superdome's management group. he talked about what happened during beyonce's rehearsal. take a listen. >>yes, we had a couple of fuses blown. there were a couple of circuits that were overloaded. it had nothing to do with this power outage. it's totally unrelated. >> reporter: thornton said these are common occurrences when you're dealing with outside show producers who are not familiar with the circuitry of the building. both thornton and the nfl said that because of those fluctuations they didn't want to take any chances and so they had beyonce's show and her production team produce the power all on their own, on a separate power system from the grid that supplies the superdome. that's why they're saying beyonce's actual performance at halftime had nothing to do with the power outage, wolf. >> interesting development. i know you're working the story. get more for us, brian todd, in
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new orleans on this scene. thank you. we're also learning right now some new details of that alabama hostage standoff and how it came to an end 22 hours ago. how new military technology can help hostage negotiators. and basic email just $49.99!s that's up to 76 percent below online providers and only at officemax stores! all stations come over to mithis is for real this time. step seven point two one two. verify and lock. command is locked. five seconds. three, two, one. standing by for capture. the most innovative software on the planet... dragon is captured. is connecting today's leading companies to places beyond it. siemens. answers.
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and lock in your rate for 12 months today. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy? all right. this just coming into "the situation room." we're getting a statement from the 5-year-old ethan's mother. ethan, that little boy who was rescued yesterday. a hostage in alabama. almost 6. his birthday is tomorrow. she's speaking out now for the first time in the wake of that nearly week-long standoff. she's saying, i'll put it up on the reen, part of the statement. ethan is safe and back in my arms and i owe it all to some of the most compassionate people on earth. i will never be able to repay those who helped bring ethan home. and then there are our friends and neighbors who showered us with love and prayers during
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this week-long ordeal and those who have provided food and other necessities for the many officers who worked tirelessly to bring an end to this situation. she adds, my family and i ask that you respect our privacy and give us a little time, time to heal, time to put this nightmare behind us, time to move forward. that statement just released. statement coming from ethan's mom. and we, of course, wish ethan, his mom, the whole family only, only the best. now let's continue though to take a closer look at how that hostage situation was resolved. let's bring in our pentagon correspondent, chris lawrence. he's joining us on the very sophisticated operation that freed that little boy and what similar operations could look like in years ahead. chris, what are you seeing? >> reporter: yeah, wolf. we're now learning that the fbi used drones likely provided from the u.s. military to keep around the clock surveillance on that particular bunker. that coming from former fbi
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official tom fuentes who has been talking to his sources. the future and what the fbi may be able to do down the line goes way beyond what was done here. >> reporter: a little boy barricaded in a bunker with a killer. as the crisis stretched into a seventh day, an fbi hostage rescue team practiced how to save him. law enforcement sources now say the fbi built a mockup of the bunker and trained on how they'd go in. but how would they know what was happening below? a law enforcement source tells cnn authorities managed to slip a camera into the hideout. >> we're going to try to introduce microphones and fiber optic lenses into a location like that. >> reporter: but in the near future federal agents and police may have undetectable drones that can drive, fly, swim into nearly any environment. >> there may be as many as
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30,000 unmanned vehicles in the air. >> professor nathan busch says designers are modeling the newest drones on nature. >> so mimicking the actions of insects, the way that they crawl, for example, or fly. >> reporter: they may be so small and agile the drones could access tight spaces, impossible for police to get to today. when the army was funding research into small robotic birds, we got a good look at each other. >> reporter: right now the hummingbird can only fly a little more than 10 minutes. at that size, imagine what it could do at ten hours. >> it could fly through small clearings, through trees and see inside. >> reporter: if one crashes or the camera fails, developers at the university of pennsylvania already have drones flying in siynchronized formations. in the hostage crises of the
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future, it could give them a swarm of available replacements. >> reporter: we know defense secretary leon panetta personally approved a request from the fbi to get high tech surveillance equipment to that site. my colleague barbara starr previously reported that that equipment did arrive on site before this standoff ended and there was a small team of military personnel who would have been there operating it. she learned that that was probably the kind that they used to detect buried i.e.d.s in war zones. the one thing we cannot determine, if the fbi actually had to use that technology, but it really goes to show the coordination between the military and some of these civilian and federal law enforcement agencies, wolf. >> certainly does. so happy that that little boy is just fine right now. chris lawrence, thank you. cnn's anderson cooper, by the way, is going to have much more on the alabama after math
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tonight. that happens at 8:00 p.m. only here on cnn. let's go to syria right now and a vital center for christians around the world armed by christians who strongly support the embattled syrian president and are vowing never to lied. fred plykin is getting an exclusive look inside syria. he's joining us inside damascus. what's going on with syria's christian community, fred? >> reporter: it's interesting, wolf. for so many months we've been talking about the big danger being the conflict, getting radicalized and going across sectarian lines. one of the things we haven't heard about is where the christians in syria stand. not all of the christians support bashar al assad, but we managed to go to a town outside of damascus where they do
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support bashar al assad and i want to show you what i saw. >> reporter: a checkpoint in the predominantly christian town, but it isn't a government outpost. it's manned by a christian militia. none of the men would speak to us on camera, afraid they'll become targets for the opposition. the militia has several checkpoints throughout the town of sednaya. they patrol the streets to make sure no militants infiltrate the safe area. he drives through esdnaya streets. he said he can't imagine syria without bashar al assad. >> translator: i don't know why, but we love the president very much. we love him allot. sure there are some mistakes, but we love the president a lot. >> reporter: christians make up about 10% of syria's population. so far most of them have not joined the uprising against the assad regime, weary of the
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opposition. there are 44 churches in sednaya. the town is a center of pilgrimage for christians from around the world. but standing on a hilltop he points to nearby towns that have opposition fighters in them. they have fired mortgage tars and even kidnapped people from here. >> translator: we will not leave and syria is our country and sednaya is our town. we will not leave if it's bombed every day and it's our land and we will not leave it. and so the christian mi lish shan members man their check points and patrol the streets, fearful the opposition might try to oust them from their homeland should they prevail. as the muslim call to prayer rings over the many church tops of this town where christians and muslims live side by side, many worry the conflict in syria
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might put an abrupt end to a calm that has lasted for generations. and of course, wolf, one of the things that we always have to point out is that we do have an official journalist visa from the assad government. what they do, obviously, is they watch what we do very, very closely. they send people after us to watch us. however, on this trip to the christian town, we did not have a government minder with us. this is clearly a community in sednaya that feels they're under threat. they clearly feel that they're afraid of what might happen if bashar al assad is to fall. >> fred pleitgen, a rare opportunity to see what's happening there. thanks very much. i want to alert our viewers here in the united states and around the world, you can see more of fred's extraordinary reporting from inside syria. simply go to cnn.com/world. horrifying 911 tapes from the moments after a navy
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s.e.a.l. sniper was murdered at a texas gun range. you'll hear what his sister has to say about the suspects. stand by. epp;o/ñ0/pt
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we're just getting some new information here into the situation room. new information about the nomination of the former senator, chuck hagel, to be the nation's next secretary of defense. let's go to capitol hill to dana bash. what are you learning? >> reporter: cnn has learned that chuck hagel's confirmation to be the next defense secretary appears to be all but certain. the reason we can report that is by some excellent digging by our
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producers. what they have found out is they have found at least five republican senators who have said that they would oppose any filibuster to block hagel's nomination. so mathematically what that would mean is even if there would be a filibuster, which is still an if, he would likely have the votes to overcome that and would go on to become the next defense secretary. they talked to a lot of senators, a lot of senators' offices and they came up with five. only two of them are actually going to support hagel's nomination, but the other three, richard burr, john mccain, and todd coburn have all told us they would oppose a filibuster if it came to that. we don't know when the vote will happen. first he has to go through committee. that will likely happen later this week. the senate vote will happen shortly after that. this is, again, some really enterprising reporting from our producers, ted stray felt and rachel bashaw.
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looking better for chuck hagel. wouldn't have to worry about a filibuster. even though someone like john mccain wouldn't vote for a filibuster, it's at least clear to me based on his questioning and statements, he won't vote at the same time to confirm him either. >> correct. that's correct. when it comes to the floor, would he vote against -- potentially vote against. he hasn't said that for sure. potentially vote against hagel's nomination. the question at this point is whether or not hagel would be blocked altogether, whether or not they could get to that point. mccain has said he would not participate in that kind of filibuster. >> maybe we can forget about a filibuster. dan i dana doing excellent reporting. a controversial lawsuit over the government's financial crisis. the investor that cost americans billions and billions of dollars.
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so...how'd it go? well, dad, i spent my childhood living with monks learning the art of dealmaking. you've mastered monkey-style kung fu? no. priceline is different now. you don't even have to bid. master hahn taught you all that? oh, and he says to say (translated from cantonese) "you still owe him five bucks." your accent needs a little work.
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it's the giant credit rating agencies, standard & poor's, and they're now in the news. the credit rating agency has had some problems lately, but the u.s. government now says it should pay, pay for its part in the financial crisis of 2008. a government lawsuit accusing s&p of giving misleading advice in the weeks and months leading up to the collapse. cnn's lisa sylvester is working the story for us. lisa, give us some background. what's going on with the lawsuit? >> reporter: hi there, wolf. $5 billion is the amount the u.s. government wants standard & poor's and its parent company, mcgraw hill, to pay up. it's a scheme to defraud investors. it helped bring about the collapse of the housing market. 2004, home values were shooting up and getting a loan from a bank was easy.
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no money down loans, interest only loans, no prove of income loans. they were packaging them up and selling them. who bought them? private pension funds and 401 k managers. they had raided many of these. aaa, the justice department now says many of these portfolios were super risky, and one by one, those folks who bought more than they could afford went into foreclosures. the investments started to go bad. now who is to blame? the u.s. attorney general's office says, among others, the standard & poor's rating service. one of the nation's main credit rating agencies. >> it's sort of like buying sausage from your favorite butcher and he assures you that the sausage was made fresh that morning and is safe. what he doesn't tell you, what he doesn't tell you is that it was made with meat he knows is rotten and plans to throw out later that night.
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>> reporter: s&p says these claims that it kept ratings high is not true. quote, s&p has been committed to serving interests of investors and all market participants in providing independent opinion. s&p did not predict the speed and severity of the coming crisis and how credit quality would ultimately be affected. and the justice department says the rating agencies had a conflict of interest because the people paying them were the investment banks, the very banks that were selling these securities. the attorney general's office won't say though if it's looking at the other two credit rating agencies, moody's and fitch. you like what the justice department is doing? >> very much. >> i think tony west and eric holder, very important step to accountability in the whole mortgage finance meltdown that
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happened in this country. >> why has it taken so long? this is five years after. we were in a near depression, whole economic meltdown. why has it taken so long? >> it's another step. we've gone after the signing scandal which resulted in a $25 billion settlement. it held five banks accountable for the robo signing scandal. this is another step. s&p is being held accountable for telling the american people one thing and telling its investors one thing but knowing the facts were different. they lost their objectivity and independence. they didn't even follow their own rules. that's what these complaints said today. >> they issued a statement saying the lawsuit is entirely without factual or legal merit. they say, look, you're going to forecast business, you make mistakes, but there was no deliberate effort to mislead the american people. >> it's worse. they didn't even follow their own rules and maintain their own independence and objectivity. it's kind of like if you have sausage at the deli and you're
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trying to sell it. you tell the consumer coming in that the sausage is fresh but you know full well that the inside of that sausage is rotten meat. that's what they did not only to the consumer but the investors. the investing public that relied on that. the reason that we're such a i great country is because our markets have credibility and honesty and what s&p has kind of done is kind of called into question that honesty and credibility. that's why the u.s. department of justice filed suit as well as a dozen other attorneys general. >> why would they deliberately want be to mislead investors? >> very simple fact. you know this having covered it. a conflict of interest. if they tell their investors the facts sometimes, they know they might not get business from their investors. if they rate something to what it really is, the reality is that investor might not come back to them and ask them to do another rating. so they sometimes it appears from my perspective at least and
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the complaint we filed today, they gave their clients, the people that paid them their income, their money, the answer that they wanted to hear. if they told them the truth, they might lose business and lose market share. that's the inherent conflict of interest that exists in this space of the ratings agency. >> and specifically s&p. >> how much money do you hope to collect from the s&p. there he is a report in the wall street journal, a billion dollars. >> tony west said multiple billions. this isn't just about the money though, it's about transparency and accountability and telling the american people what happened to the economy. this is central to what happened to the economy. >> if you get the money, where does it go? >> for our state it will go to the consumer protection fund. >> did we distribute it to those people who lost money in the housing industry? >> well, the federal government might have some capacity to do that. ours will go into icon summer protection fund to help
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consumers down the road. s&p has hired floyd abrams, among others. any time you have to hire a first amendment specialist, you know your defense is not that strong. my colleague in illinois and my colleague in connecticut, two leaders on this, have gotten beyond motions to dismiss. they've filed these cases over the last 24 months and i feel good about the types of cases we've brought at the state and federal level. >> i know you didn't include moody's, you didn't include fitch. are there more cases down the road? >> i can't comment on what the u.s. government is doing. we're going to look at all aspects in this. i'm interested in ratings and analytics. >> that sounds like a potentially -- like a yes? >> look, we're looking a the the whole ratings piece of this. s&p, those will be filed today. i'm going to look at the entire spectrum of rating's agency. >> thanks very much for coming in. >> thanks, wolf. thanks for having me. president obama losing his voice. we're going to explain. that's next.
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the man behind so many of the president's most memorable lines is leaving. our white house correspondent brianna keilar has more now. john favreau. >> reporter: president obama is losing his voice, his chief speech writer, john favreau, is leaving the white house. favs, as he's known around the west wing, has helped write almost every speech since he was a senator. >> the will and the determination of the american people that change this country. yes, we can. >> reporter: from his first run for president. >> we are an american family and we rise or fall together. >> reporter: to obama's november acceptance speech in chicago.
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favreau was seen working on it in this official white house photo as he was awaiting mitt romney's concession call. he collaborated in all of the state of the union addresses including the one he is set to give next week. favreau met obama in 2004 while he was a 23-year-old staffer on john kerry's presidential campaign. >> out of this long political darkness a brighter day will come. thank you so much, everybody. god bless you. >> so they sent the poor kid in there to tell the keynote speaker that his favorite phrase would have to be removed from the speech and that was their introduction to each other. little did we know that that kid who ran that awful errand would end up being such an integral part of obama's future. >> reporter: obama hired favreau in 2005. when elected he made the then 27-year-old his chief speech writer. hotly pursued by the media, gq
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magazine then called favreau a facebooking frat boy. he was touching this cardboard cutout of hillary clinton. he apologized and got back to work. now after eight years together writing hundreds of speeches -- >> four years ago i was locked in a brutal primary battle with hill kri clinton. four years later she won't stop drunk texting me from cart at that haine in a. >> including could he meed dick ones like we saw at the white house correspondence dinner. he's leaving but he will only be a call away. >> i wouldn't be surprised if the president called john in to help out in a one off basis because he has a great comedy touch as well. >> reporter: favreau is collaborating on the upcoming
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state of the state address. he's second chairing. he helped in the remarks he gave in arizona. for favreau, it was the president's inaugural address that was really his swan song. brianna keilar, cnn, the white house. >> highly anticipated vote tomorrow. will the boy scouts lift the ban on gay scouts and leaders?
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the boy scouts of america are expected to vote tomorrow whether to lift the organize's long standing ban on gay scouts and leaders. the issue has sparked lots of debate at the highest levels. >> scouting is about teaching a substantial amount of life less
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songs. sexuality is not one of them, never has been, doesn't need to be. >> the scouts are a great institution that are promoting young people and exposing them to, you know, opportunities and leadership that will serve people for the rest of their lives, and i think that nobody should be barred for that. >> all right. let's talk about it. with the president of the southern baptist convention, richard land who is joining us also. the co-founder, zak walls. he's the author of the book "my two moms, lessons of love, strength and what makes a family." gentlemen, thanks for coming in. mr. land, what's wrong with letting them be scout masters? >> first of all, the boy scouts, according to the supreme court, had a core value of traditional sexual morality and that's why they were allowed not to have homosexual scout masters in the 2000 decision.
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they're a private organization. they don't get government money. it's not a government entity. and in this country we have freedom association and we have religious freedom, and for over 100 years the boy scouts have been based upon jew dudeao chrin morality. that doesn't include homosexuality as a morally straight lifestyle. they're entitled to continue that policy if they choose to. if they don't, they're going to lose the heart and soul of their membership. six months ago in a study that they completed after 2 1/2 years they said that the vast majority of the parents that entrusted their youth to boy scouts were in agreement with the policy that's currently in place. >> all right, zach. let's run with that argument. >> wolf, when i was 6 years old i joined the cub scouts like most young kids do, to experience the great outdoors. after a year our cub scouts needed another leader. my mother jackie took other.
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she was a leader for a few more years. a few parents like richard, i suppose, were apprehensive. after they found out my moms were interested in providing an enriching scouting experience, they didn't have anything to worry about. i graduated from the program at 18. i spent more than 12 years in the program as an eagle scout. they're about being courteous, kind, cheerful, and to listen to him talking about parents like mine at the veteransq affairs hospital and the way that he does, calling them, you know, people who are trying to recruit kids for homosexual clubs ore1 calling being gay th one sin that he knows about that he finds, quote,ko totally9 incomprehensible, above, perhaps, even murder or rape,i] it's really çótroubling. you know, i feel that like people like richard -- >> let's let richard land respond to that. go ahead. >> well, i would just say,xdq y know, look, i'm not the source% of my moralÑi authority. the source of my moral authority
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is not personal. it's theqfá holy scripture. and for nearly 2,000 years now, the christian faith, and beforez that, the jewish faith has baseá on its sacred qtext, believed that homosxnal behavior is immoral. and i'm not out tows$kk i'm not out to belitt,y homosexuals. i'm out to say-" that boy scout have a right to have ax organization that says that it wants to build boys who are morally straight and they have a right to define morally straight as heterosexual. if those who want a differentjf organization want to have that organization, then they can havd it. it's a free country. organization. if the boyqxi scouts change the( policy, wolf --c >>lpi] g@p÷ahead, zach. >> -- there will be a big change in the bog@(couts. eagle scout, the founder of the scouting program,xdcÑi over a hd years ago wrote, quote,i] we hoy
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belief over another. and frankly, for people, you know, like richard, this isn't able the boy scouts. this is about the problem they havew&th parents like mine. this is t(about, you know, them trying to advance an agenda of promoting a specific way of understanding the world, at the expense of peoplejf all over th country. the reality isxdw3Ñi that peopl the christian kofaith, includi presbyterian clergy, numerous united methodist ministries, the saying thatfá ending this ban p$e ró,áátj oflp dignity and respect that scouting was founded on. and ámhsrfrankly, scouts for equality, our organization couldn't agree more. h working on thisl))y >> howtñ on, mr. land --xd >> i think it's rather presumptuous of -- >> why not let various troops make this decisionÑi themselves if there'sçcatholic group that doesn't want to allowlpe1 gays f there's a mormon group that doesn't wantxd to allow gays, b or jewish denominations
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that are open to that, why not let each of these troops decide forxd themselves? >> e1yes, i'm asking you? >> well, first of all, it willx have already said that this is s inconsistent. the people who arefá wanting th allowing discriminationçó to ta place. they want a policy. they're as unhappy with this policy change as i am.Ñi they want thisc to be a no choie matter, and basically, as "the new york times" has pointed out in an editorial, the boy scouts will now lose in court over this local option. because the reason they were able to keep a ban onq homosexul scoutmasters in 2000 was because the supreme court found this was a core value of the scouts. a local optiont( is not a core value. it's a preference. >> let me ask zach. >> that means they will lose
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their biggest legal defense in court --Ñi >> hold on, hold on, hold on. it looks likelp the boy scouts y go with this corec option.fá in other words, this local option, as it's called, and allow local troops to decide for themselves. is that okay with you, zach? >> no, it's a step in the right direction. we're glad that richard agrees withxd t(hn is discrimination a we're glad he's seeing it that way -- >> i didn't see it that way. i didn't say that, zach. zhaomi%5%9q%=91eÑ any level, t whether it's the national level straight, and it's inconsistent with the moral of scouting th& as somebody who wentj♪Ñ through1 program for more than 12 fáyear that's pretty anti]fáe1 antithe to everything i t(learned. >> we'll continue this discussion, but we can't right now. we'll seefá what the boy scoutsf america decides tomorrow and mayberñ$p#ter the decision we'l have both of you back to continue this conversation. richard land, president of the southern baptist convention, ?! walls, t(co-founder of scous
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for all. appreciate i"gz very much. ) rrñ horrifying çó911 tapes fr the moments after a4quv apes fr s.e.a.l. sniper wasñrÑi murdere a texas gun range. you'llxd hear what his sister i now saying about the suspect.
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there's a dramatic new development in the investigation of this weekend's shooting death of the former navy s.e.a.l. and best-selling author, chris kyle. authorities have just released the recording of the 911 call made by the family of the man accused of the digging. let's go straight to cnn's ed lavendera. he's watching this story for us. what's the latest, ed? >> well, wolf, setting up this phone call just a little bit, wolf, but this is on saturday afternoon. and the suspect in this case, a man by the name of eddie ray routh, who's accused of killing chris kyle, the famed sniper, navy s.e.a.l., and his friend at a gun range southwest of ft. worth, authorities say after he left there, he went to his sister's house, almost 70 miles away, and confessed to the killing. and after he left that house, his sister, laura gaines and her s husband, called 911. >> listen. my brother just came by here. i was [ bleep ] [ bleep ]. he's now left. but he told me that he's committed a murder.
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>> okay. hold on -- >> and i'm terrified for my life. >> okay. >> because i don't know if he's going to come back here. >> okay. >> they went out to a shooting range. like, he's all crazy. he's [ bleep ] psychotic. i'm sorry for my language. >> thouno, you're -- >> i don't know if he's on drugs or not, but i know that he's been -- let me talk to your -- let my -- my husband's going to talk to you because i'm so nervous. >> hello? >> yes, go ahead and tell me what he said. >> he said he killed two guys at a shooting range. but he was recently diagnosed with ptsd and he's been acting real weird since that. he just got out of a mental hospital, actually. >> so, wolf, more insight there into the mental state of eddie ray routh, which is interesting, because this erratic behavior dates back to at least september. we got ahold of a police report,
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where his parents called authorities here in the dallas area, in saying that their son was threatening to kill them. so this erratic behavior, and he was then taken to a mental hospital and evaluated. so a little bit more fuller picture of the mental state of the suspect in this tragic case. wolf? >> ed lavendera reporting for us. thank you. happening now, the president's justification for killing americans, his policy is revealed. critics are alarmed. it turns out that officers had a secret window into a hostage bunker, before a little boy's dramatic rescue. new proof that officials knew something could go very wrong, before the super bowl blackout. governor chris christie jokes about his weight, but bill clinton's former doctor calls the republican a time bomb. and the face of a long-lost king. what scientists did with richard iii's newly found skull. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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up first this hour, a rare lack look at the president's so-called kill list. his secret policy on drone attacks on united states citizens. one watchdog group calls it chilling, with very few limits on what the president can do. our pentagon correspondent, barbara starr, has the details on this controversial memo. what's the latest, barbara? >> well, wolf, it is a cold-blooded document. it spells out the government's right to kill you. it was in a cnn interview that president obama defended his right to kill america citizens suspected of terrorist activity. >> there is a legal justification for us to try to stop them from carrying out plots. >> reporter: the case at issue, the 2011 killing of american-born cleric, anwar al awlaki, a senior al qaeda operative in yemen. but other americans are aligned with al qaeda, notably, its communications chief, adam gadahn, who's on the most wanted
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list. the president insisted every american's legal rights are protected before they might be targeted for a kill. >> they are subject to the protections of the constitution and due process. >> reporter: but in a leaked 2012 justice department memo, the administration spells out the legality of killing americans overseas, who are involved with al qaeda, arguing it, quote, does not require the united states to have clear evidence of a specific plot. critics are alarmed. >> all they have to show is a general view that somebody is, you know, is doing something bad and hasn't renounced that. >> reporter: the leak is well timed. john brennan goes before the senate for confirmation as cia director on thursday, where he's expected to face tough questions about the targeted killings. as one of the chief architects of the controversial obama program, he's defended the program in the past. >> we conduct targeted strikes,
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because they are necessary to mitigate an actual ongoing threat, to stop plots, prevent future attacks, and to save american lives. >> now, a bipartisan group of senators led by democrats wants to see a classified version of this document. there is a classified legal opinion, they believe there's more information in there they want to review. they say if they do not get it, some of the nominations for national security officials, perhaps even brennan's, maybe held up in the senate. wolf? >> all right, barbara, thank you. later this hour, we'll have a major debate on the president's policies on these drones' so-called kill list, including the killing of americans. that's coming up later this hour. kate balduan is here. you've got some new details on what happened 24 hours ago, almost exactly. >> on that amazing rescue and the amazing ending to that dramatic alabama hostage situation. we now know that law enforcement officers had a secret camera
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planted inside the bunker, where 5-year-old boy was held captive for a week. the child named ethan still is in the hospital under evaluation, a day after the rescue that left his kidnapper dead. cnn's martin savage is in midland city, alabama. martin, you've been putting together a new timeline of how this all played out. >> reporter: yeah, we have, kate. in fact, we've also learned something new, that now, more than 24 hours after that successful rescue was carried out, authorities say that the site around the bunker where 5-year-old ethan was held for a week still remains dangerous. they say that there were concerns about explosive devices or other threatening devices to agents in and around the area. meanwhile, as you say, through a number of sources, we've been able to piece together a timeline as to how that rescue was carried out. for days, as the command center and a nearby church continue to grow, authorities remain in constant communication with jimmy lee dykes, speaking to him over a telephone in his bunker.
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a law enforcement force characterized dykes as contentious the entire time. despite that, dykes allowed authorities to deliver what were called comfort items through a hatch. >> he's also allowed us to provide us coloring books, medication, toys. >> reporter: dykes was said to be caring for the boy, providing even an electric heater and blankets to keep him warm, leading authorities to take the unusual step of thanking the boy's kidnapper. >> i want to thank him for taking care of our child. >> reporter: all seemed well until sunday afternoon, when negotiators noticed a change in dykes' demeanor. >> within the past 24 hours, negotiations deteriorated. >> reporter: according to law enforcement sources on the scene, authorities used a camera to monitor what was going on inside the bunker while an fbi source tells cnn surveillance drones were used to observe the site from above, around the clock. meanwhile, highly trained fbi hostage rescue teams like this one in an fbi training video
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took turns on standby around the clock. sources say those rescue teams practiced their assault on a mock-up of dykes' bunker. monday, authorities continued to monitor the changes in dykes' demeanor. publicly, officials gave no indication, but for the first time hinted he had a motive. >> he has a story that's important to him, although it's very complex. >> meanwhile, a team from the fire department trained in collapsed rescues was quietly put on alert and brought in. then came the critical moment. >> mr. dykes was observed holding a gun. >> reporter: that's when the hrt team struck. brian martin is a neighbor. >> i heard a big boom and then i heard, i believe i heard rifle shots. >> fbi agents, fearing the child was in imminent danger, entered the bunker and rescued the child. >> reporter: sources tell cnn federal agents detonated large
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explosions and then two or more agents dropped into the underground space, shooting the gunman multiple times, killing him. 5-year-old ethan was unharmed. it was all over in seconds. for a clearly exhausted dale county sheriff wally olson, it was a relief. >> we appreciate everybody in law enforcement pulling together to get this job done. thank you. >> reporter: for law enforcement, it was considered to be a successful operation. meanwhile, the public still being kept away from that area, primarily because not just the danger, but also the fact that all of that area is considered to be one big crime scene. it's going to take days to process, according to authorities. kate? >> absolutely, martin. and for the first time, we're hearing from ethan's mother. obviously, she was relieved, but what else was she saying? >> reporter: she issued a statement, it was actually quite lengthy, but let me read you just a little bit of it. it says, "ethan is safe and back
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in my arms. and i owe it all to some of the most compassionate people on earth. i will never be able to repay those who helped bring ethan home." you can only imagine the kind of joy and emotion they are feeling right now. >> absolutely. martin savage, doing great work. thank you so much. and tonight on "anderson cooper 360," he's taking a look at the psychological toll on a child who has been ducted. anderson will talk to ed smart, the father of elizabeth smart, i'm sure you all remember that amazing story as well. that's coming up tonight at 8:00 eastern right here on cnn. let's get to the super bowl blackout. new information coming in, including new evidence that superdome officials knew in advance that there was a chance of failure with the power supply. our brian todd is new orleans. he's been digging on this story. what else are you learning, brian? >> reporter: wolf, we've got new information just coming in tonight about power fluctuations during beyonce's rehearsals in the weeks leading up to the
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super bowl, and widespread concerns over the power supply several weeks leading up to the event. in the months leading up to super bowl xlvii, there were worries and warnings among engineers and superdome officials about the stadium's power system. that's according to memos and letters obtained by cnn, from the attorney for the superdome's management group. october 15th, 2012, a memo from pat tobler refers to transient spikes of load in the system which had previously concerned. the concern, whether the power supply to the superdome is reliable. this memo says that a test showed that the power feeder lines had some decay. a letter five days after that from an outside engineer hired by the superdome says based on test results with the superdome's only and main electrical feed are not sufficiently electrical to support high-profile event schedule. that letter warned of the loss
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of events and financial liability to the dome's manager. >> and in response to that, entergy and superdome services constructed a whole new vault, so that the concerns that were brought out in those memos were addressed. we will have the analysis and the data on friday, hopefully. >> do you know if the vault functioned properly? >> i don't have that information right now. that's why the company that that equipment belongs to, they're coming in to analyze their equipment. >> reporter: a vault is the structure that houses switching gear for power feed license. city councilwoman cynthia henlg morrell has called an emergency meeting for the key players this friday. hundreds of thousands of dollars were allocated to upgrade the feeder lines into the dome. and one memo says the work was completed around december 18th. so what's the culprit? it could be a switch gear, which is like a circuit breaker. entergy says one switch gear tripped due to an abnormality.
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they don't know what yet. then the breaker cut power to half of the superdome. power was rerouted to the superdome through an auxiliary line. but all the systems need to be rebooted before the power came online and the game could resume. and there's new information that power fluctuated during rehearsals for pop star beyonce's halftime show. in an e-mail to cnn, the nfl says there were some fluctuations in the frequence of the power supply, but not in the amount of the power supplied to the building. and no mass power outages. the nfl says that's why they decided to have beyonce's actual halftime show on a separate power system. >> yes, we had a couple of fuses blown, there were a couple of circuits that were overloaded, but it had nothing to do with this power outage. it was totally unrelated. >> reporter: doug thornton says, those are common occurrences when you're dealing with outside show producers who are not familiar with the circuitry of the building. we've been trying for a couple of days now to get beyonce's representatives to say anything to us about the rehearsals or
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about e power outages. we have not heard from them. >> has there been a decision to pri bring in an outside entity or group to dig into this thing and find out what actually happened? >> reporter: they announced that today. the super bowl managers plus entergy have announced they're going to bring in a third party independent expert to get to the root of this problem. not sure who that's going to be, but they are bringing in an independent person or group. >> got to learn lessons to make sure it never, ever happens again at a super bowl. a new attempt today by republicans to improve their image after very disappointing election losses. one gop leader thinks he knows the way to give his party, i guess we could call it, an extreme makeover. let's bring in our chief congressional correspondent, dana bash, for more on this. dana, what's the plan? >> reporter: you know, kate, this is not the first time eric cantor has tried to lead house republicans into a new message. but this time, the attempt that he's making is to have a goal of rebranding republicans with a
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softer, gentler image. feel-good buzz words. >> health, happiness and prosperity. >> reporter: issues that resonate with everyday americans. >> education, health care, innovation, and job growth. >> extreme makeover! >> reporter: this is house majority leader eric cantor's gop makeover. why do the house republicans need an extreme makeover? >> you know, i'm not agreeing with the statement we need an extreme makeover. but what i think is that there's a lot of lessons to be learned from the last election. >> reporter: one of those lessons, toning down harsh gop language that alienated key voters, especially latinos. listen to cantor on immigration. >> and i wouldn't be here if this country wasn't welcoming to my grandparents who fled religious persecution in russia. so there is that and the compassion for the families that are here who frankly, many of whom, have become part of the fabric of this country.
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>> reporter: but when it comes to controversial policy changes, he won't go there. >> senator rubio supports a path to citizenship, as long as border security is addressed first. do you support that? >> again, i want to see where the talks in the house and the senate lead. >> reporter: in fact cantor's new push turns out to be long on compassionate rhetoric and support on new, specific policy proposals, although he did open the door a bit to strengthening background checks on guns. >> i am for making sure that we increase the quality of information in the database that is in existence already. >> reporter: big picture, cantor is trying to rebrand by reworking gop rhetoric. that has language or the message of your party over the past couple of years in all candor turned some voters off? >> i'm a father, i'm a husband, i have to deal with struggles just like a lot of parents have to. >> reporter: almost as if, on cue, cantor's phone rings. it's all about -- that's my
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daughter. sweetie, we're -- >> oh, she's face timing? >> that's dana bash on cnn. i've got to go and turn the phone off. hello? >> okay, bye, i love you. >> reporter: now, wolf, most democrats released statements reacting to cantor's new push with snarky statements, saying that they believe that cantor is just talking about more of the same. but one senior democrat in the senate, chuck schumer, said that if republicans in the house match their agenda to cantor's words, he said this congress could surprise people with how productive it can be. wolf? >> dana, thanks very, very much. we'll stay on top of this story. >> a softer, gentler image. that was a cute moment with eric cantor there. still ahead, you may have seen chris christie joke about his weight on late-night tv, but bill clinton's doctor has some choice words for the new jersey governor, especially if he wants to run for president. >> i'm a physician more than i'm
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what's your policy? the new jersey governor chris christie, he's certainly very, very popular right now. he's a star in the republican party, but he also doesn't shy away from those so-called fat jokes. >> that's right. in fact, the republican poked fun at himself and at his size during an appearance on the david letterman show last night. very funny stuff. that got people talking once again about christie's presidential prospects. but a former white house doctor is warning that christie, she fears, may die in office if he does not take care of himself. let's bring in our national political correspondent, jim acosta, for more. >> she's not laughing about this. >> she's not. >> he was very funny last night, but she's serious. chris christie may be able to take the punch lines about his waistline, but the new jersey governor up for re-election this year and a potential candidate in 2016, there is a question facing him and that is how long
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he can laugh all of this off. a former white house doctor that we talked to early today described christie's health as a time bomb. sitting down with late-night talk show host david letterman, chris christie tried to make light of a heavy subject. >> i have made jokes about you, not just one or two, not just ongoing here or there, intermittent, but -- >> reporter: in a sign the popular new jersey governor may be weighing a bid for the presidency down the road, christie's also attempted to give himself a clean bill of health. >> i'm basically the healthiest fat guy you've ever seen in your life. >> reporter: but it's no laughing matter to dr. connie mariano. >> i worry he may have a heart attack, may have a stroke. it's a time bomb waiting to happen. >> reporter: mariano, a white house physician who helped president clinton with his own
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battle of the bulge, wants christie to run, preferably on a treadmill. >> i'm a republican, so i like chris christie a lot, i just want him to lose weight. i'm a physician more than i'm a democrat or a republican and i worry about this man dying in office. >> i want to see y'all moving. >> reporter: dr. mariano says that michelle obama's let's move campaign is a better idea compared to the presidential candidate downing a burger and beer in his spare time. >> we have the desires to start solving america's childhood obesity problem. >> reporter: but they're already getting a preview of the a corpulent commander in chief when they unveil william howard taft, who weighed in at more than 300 pounds. taft was so huge, he once famously got stuck in the presidential bathtub. >> christie threw his weight around as u.s. attorney. >> reporter: as for christie whose size became an issue in
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his last campaign and is up for re-election -- >> by doctor continues to warn me that my luck will run out, so i'm conscious of it. there is a plan. whether it will be successful or not, y'all will be able to notice. >> christie is still being coy about whether he will run for the white house in 2016. but there's a more pressing matter for the governor. and his own doctors have said he could run out of luck if he doesn't start losing weight soon. but just a few weeks ago, he was saying, wolf and kate, that he'll be more ready in 2016, should he decide to run. but i think the question is, whether he weighs more or less than he does right now. you know, as we saw four years ago -- >> as we were talking about. >> mike huckabee, when he ran, he was losing weight he was running in 2008, when he decided not to run in 2012, he was starting to gain weight again. and sometimes you can read the tea leaves there. >> mike huckabee, when he was governor of arkansas, he lost 100 pounds exercising, running, eating properly, gained some of it back, but he did lose 100
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pounds. >> he did. and i remember when he was gearing up to make that decision for 2012. it looked like he was starting to put some of that weight back on, and i thought -- >> so if chris christie -- if we start seeing him slimming down, there is our first indicator of a presidential run. is that what you're saying? >> i think that's a good sign. >> we'll see what happens. see if that extra weight -- if he's 100 pounds overweight, that puts an enormous amount of stress on your heart. >> and even if he doesn't run, i think it's better for him either way. >> jim acosta, thank you so much. an olympic skiing champ is sidelined by an accident. standby to see her downhill disaster. also, a bizarre and scary video showing an american city in flames. what is going on? ♪ my friends are all around me ♪ my friends, they do surround me ♪ ♪ i hope this never ends ♪ and we'll be the best of friends ♪ ♪ all set? all set. [ male announcer ] introducing the reimagined
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a devastating crash for a downhill superstar. kate has that and some of the day's other top stories as well. kate? >> lindsey vonn stars are devastated today, wolf. olympic champion skier lindsey vonn crashing, take a look, right there, during today's super-g at the alpine ski world championships in austria. she tore ligaments in her right knee. doctors in austin ra say that von does not need immediate surgery on the injury. she was airlifted from the race course and the u.s. ski team says she is done for the season. mexican officials are apologizing and promising quick after after a horrific attack in acapulco. a pack of hooded gunman broke into a beach bungalow occupied by spanish tourists, tied up the men with phone cables and bikini straps and raped six women. officials fear it could affect tourism in a city that's largely been spared the horrors of mexico' drug wars. also, north korea has come
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out with a pretty bizarre, to say the least, and ominous new video, and it's obviously propaganda. the video shows a u.s. city in flames in a scene similar to 9/11. it has had tens of thousands of views since its release on youtube saturday after south korea warned that a nuclear test by the north appeared imminent. even stranger, you can probably hear it, the music underneath those images, a version of michael jackson's "we are the world." the super bowl champion baltimore ravens celebrated today with several thousand of their closest friends, their hometown fans. people dressed in purple lined the streets to cheer the team's victory in sunday's matchup with the san francisco 49ers, and here is a victor's eye view we want to show you. cnn mounted a camera on the humvee carrying head coach harbaugh. this is what it looks like to be on the receiving end of this
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kind of a celebration. probably a view his brother wishes he had right about now. >> very cool. >> isn't that cool? >> very impressive. >> congrats again. we're also hearing some sharp criticism on the president's policy for using drones to kill americans. would the outcry be louder if we were talking about george w. bush? that will be debated when we come back. oh my goodness... oh my gosh, this looks amazing... [ male announcer ] 15 entrees under $15! it's our new maine stays! seafood, chicken, and more! ooh! the tilapia with roasted vegetables. i'm actually looking at the wood grilled chicken with portobello wine sauce. that pork chop was great. no more fast food friday's. we're going to go to red lobster... [ male announcer ] come try our new menu and sea food differently. and introducing 7 lunch choices for just $7.99! salad, sandwiches and more. with multiple lacerations to the wing and a fractured beak. surgery was successful, but he will be in a cast until it is fully healed, possibly several months. so, if the duck isn't able to work, how will he pay for his living expenses?
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[ coyote howls ] how about no more surprises? now you can get all the online trading tools you need without any surprise fees. ♪ it's not rocket science. it's just common sense. from td ameritrade. let's get back to our top story this hour. we have new insight into president obama's use of drone strikes against american citizens and defenders of civil liberties are sounding the alarm. they believe it's way too easy for suspected american terrorists overseas to land on the president's kill list. it's time for a debate here in "the situation room." we're joined by two guests. cliff may is the president of the foundation for the defense of democracies. congressman keith ellison is a democrat of minnesota. gentleman, thanks to both of you for coming in. >> thank you. >> let me read from this justice department memo that was leaked.
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this is out there. "the condition that an operational leader presents an imminent threat of violent attack against the united states does not require the united states to have clear evidence that a specific attack on u.s. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future." is that okay with you? >> you know, it really bends the definition of what "imminent" actually means. i do agree with the use of the word imminent. but i think imminent means close proximity in time to the attack. and that the person has some real meaningful planning behind what -- >> but is it okay for the united states to kill u.s. citizens without any judicial procedure whatsoever? >> that's very concerning to me. i think in a situation where an american citizen is posing an immediate threat to national security, is going to kill americans right away, i think that it is lawful and it is sound to take action to protect american lives. >> to kill -- >> to take measures to protect
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american lives. up and to including deadly force. but what i mean is, close proximity, real planning, not, you know, some sort of highly attenuated thing. so i think that we've got to tighten it up much more than it's been laid out in this memo that i read. >> what do you think? the congressman says it needs to be tightened up, the sort of vague use of what "imminent" is now, it goes too far. where are the boundaries? >> well, look, the language that we've seen so far is a little bit vague. there are legal memos written by the justice department on these kind of killings, just like they were legal memos written under the bush administration about the use of torture and what constitutes torture and doesn't. i think it's justifiable for members of congress, at least some of them, say, we want to see this judicial reasoning. we want to see what the justice department's come up, and review it ourselves. i think it's -- two things are important. one is, i think we do need to use drones in this war. i think if an american is a member of al qaeda and that is clearly established and he's
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hiding some place like yemen, you get to use a drone against him. >> let's be specific. i know you supported the killing of anwar al awlaki, a u.s. citizen, there were other u.s. citizens that were killed. do you support the killing of u.s. citizens like anwar al awlaki was killed? should he have been targeted for assassination? >> let's first say that anwar al awlaki was a despicable human being. i want to be clear where i am with him to begin with. as i mentioned a moment ago, if he was imminently about to commit an act of terror against americans, i think that it would be justifiable. but if it was attenuated thing -- >> he was inspiring people to kill americans, but he wasn't out there killing americans himself. >> if they could have feasibly arrested anwar al awlaki, they should have done so.
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>> they couldn't. >> ho do we know that? they knew where he was, they knew how to attack him. i'm not going to second-guess the anwar al awlaki case. if they could have feasibly done it and he was not about to go imminently kill americans, i've got real concerns. >> due process is only the process that is due if the process that is due not necessarily a judicial process, what eric holder said, and i think he's quite right, anwar al awlaki is out planning and plotting terrorist acts and helping to facilitate terrorist attacks, i think it's okay to strike him and i don't think you have to wait one minute before he's about to launch an attack. >> i didn't say one minute. >> you're right on this, congressman, what does imminent mean and how do you define it. it's kind of loosy ambiguoe yiy what does it mean to be unfeasible to capture him? does that mean difficult or inconvenient? we have a president now who doesn't want to capture somebody and put them in guantanamo. would he rather kill them? in he would rather kill them but could capture them but doesn't want to put them in guantanamo,
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that doesn't seem to be unfe unfeasible and that is a little bit problematic. you have a different kind of war. we may need different kinds of laws. we haven't been creating them. this is neither a criminal justice case, nor the kind of war we had in world war ii, where you could kill somebody without getting a subpoena or lawyer or judge's permission. we probably need some rules and regulations, oversight, but not a veto -- >> i think we are in a different set of circumstances. but i don't think we should ever in america say, we don't believe in due process anymore, we don't believe in basic standards of justice, and we don't believe in trials. i think trials work. and as a matter of fact, we tried a lot of terrorists in regular old federal district courts, in the united states. and i think that -- >> here's the argument, congressman, that a lot of republicans are saying. if george w. bush were targeting american citizens without any due process, you on the left would be outraged, but you're trying to protect the president
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who's doing it. >> or similar to the outrage over the torture -- >> i wrote an op-ed -- >> when i say you -- >> right. >> i guess this is an occasion where, yes, i'm a supporter of barack obama, but that does not mean that i'm not willing to call into question this policy, and i have. and i will continue to do so. to the president's credit, though, he has said he needs congress to have input on this and to help set up a legal architecture, which i don't think we have. and i worry about, you know, flip side. look, we're not always going to be able to monopolize, weaponize drones. >> you think it's inviting -- >> well, yeah. so why don't we lead? why don't we lead justly? because at one point, we'll need international protocols on how to use this technology and we're going to wish we would have taken the lead -- >> a quick yes or no from both of you. cliff, first for you, adam gadahn, the propagandist from california who's working and inspiring al qaeda operatives out there, should the u.s. kill
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him? >> under the law that's now written as we understand it, president obama would be justified to do that. he's an al qaeda commander involved in terrorism. i think that would be justified. if president obama took that decision, i think i would support it. >> what do you think, congressman? >> i'm very disturbed about that kind of action. but, again, these things are fact bound. uniquely suited to the factual situation. but i would be very concerned about killing a u.s. citizen that was not immediately about to commit an act of terrorism. >> good discussion. guys, thank you. this debate is not going away. not that long ago, gas prices took a very welcome dip. so what's happened all of a sudden. stand by for what you need to know about the latest spike in prices. l right that's a fifth-fr problem... ok. not in my house! ha ha ha! ha ha ha! no no no! not today! ha ha ha! ha ha ha! jimmy how happy are folks who save hundreds of dollars
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we all know that rising gas prices certainly make it harder to stick to a budget, but there may be an even bigger toll on your finances than you think. >> yeah, just take a look at these numbers. americans are pumping about 4% of their incomes into buying gasoline. that's according to the energy department. and each household spent on average $2,912 on just gas last year. and the prices just keep
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climbing. our paul ver cammen is in los angeles. >> and californians get hammered by high gas taxes, 67 cents a gallon. that's the second highest in the nation behind new york, and the people polling into this station say this is just ridiculous. downtown los angeles is jammed with drivers, but not gas stions. here's a soul-crushing $5 a gallon for regular. i noticed you just spent $50 for just under ten gallons of gas. how you feeling? >> i'm actually shocked. i expected it to be about $4.02 today, and then i drove up here and saw it's $5.02, but i ran out of gas, my light was on. i had no choice. >> reporter: so what's driving up gas prices? >> the spike is caused we two things. the rapid run-up in crude oil prices and by refinery maintenance on the west coast and the transition to the summer grade of gasoline.
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>> reporter: those surging oil prices are the biggest component of gas prices and they are rising partly because of a sense the economy is getting better. and the annual refinery maintenance usually finishes up in the fourth quarter each year, so analysts hackett predicts that gas prices will drop back down when production ramps up. but there's more highway misery. a texas a&m study reporting that american commuters spend an average of 38 hours a year, and in 2011 alone, more than $800, wasting time and money stuck in traffic. >> i work in west l.a., so every light, it's a stop. a 30-minute drive in the morning is about an hour and a half, just because of the traffic scene and then the gas prices on top of it, it just makes it worse, because you're not moving it. >> reporter: l.a.'s bus riders are thrilled to not behind the wheel. >> i was getting off the bus and looked up and thought, i don't think i've ever seen gas prices over $5 a gallon. and i remember when i started to drive and gas prices were under $1. >> reporter: hard to fathom were
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aaa says californians are now paying an average of $3.93 each precious gallon of regular. and apparently some of these prices are driving some californians to smoking. one gentleman whipped through here and said, i'm not paying $5 for gas, but i do need a carton of cigarettes. wolf, kate? >> it's just the way it is some days. paul, thank you so much, paul vercammen in l.a. for us this evening. paul, i was realizing, just this morning, my low gaslight went on in my car as well. >> better fill up that tank on the way hope. >> unfortunately so. today's banner headlines over england are about a king who's been dead for more than 500 years. we're going to tell you what's new about richard iii. and later, something you should never, ever do to a judge.
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who would have guessed that a dead 15th century british king would become a global sensation in the 21st century. the buzz around richard iii is only growing today now that his face has been reconstructed from his newly discovered remains. here's our royal correspondent, max foster. >> wolf, this started off as quite a small dig with some local archaeologists, but it's a story that really has captivated the world. >> welcome back to "early start." new this morning, a team of scientists unveiling the face of long-lost british king richard. >> well, he's an infamous royal arch villain. we're talking about richard iii. >> archaeologists in britain say they found the remains of king richard iii. >> reporter: there are some stories that get people talking and this was one of them. a king found in a parking lot more than 500 years after he was
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killed in battle. then you dig deeper and you look at how he was demonized by the revered playwright, william shakespeare, as an arch villain with a hunchback who probably killed his nephews so they couldn't take the throne. he may have been an english king, but he sparked a global fascination. this map shows where people have been tweeting with the #richa #richardiii around the world. and let's take you here to north america and the local was front page news in philadelphia. as it was in china and in south africa, the paper describes a 500 year mystery about richard's final resting place at last being solved. >> the reason -- one of the reasons that richard has become such a monster legend is it was alleged by shakespeare that he was a deformed monster. he was certainly deformed. whether he was as deformed in
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mind as he undoubtedly was in body will remain a subject of fierce debate. >> reporter: when his bones were found in a lost grave in the most mundane of settings, we learned something new about a legendary character who was one of the most studied characters in european history. we only had portraits before. now we have a reconstruction of his face based on his actual skull. it feels we're a little closer to richard, whose story is one of murder, mystery and the ultimate fall from grace. seems like shakespeare might have been on the right tracks after all. shakespeare was accused of being part of a conspiracy to demonize richard iii but these latest findings actually do back up his case. wolf? just got ahold of fbi photos from the scene of that alabama hostage crisis taken before the dramatic rescue. take a look at these pictures. this one shows a tent covering the bunker where the 5-year-old ethan was held for nearly a week
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until his rescue. he turns 6 tomorrow. here you see hostage negotiators using a pipe to communicate with the kidnapper, jimmy dykes, who later was killed. this evening, cnn's erin burnett is taking a look at this very story, digging deeper on this amazing operation to rescue this young ethan. what are you guys looking at? >> we have the kind of minute by minute of what happened and it is pretty incredible, when you just see that picture there of the pipe and how they were communicating with jimmy lee dykes who had taken 5-year-old ethan hostage for nearly a week. sort of tick by tick of exactly what happened. it's a pretty incredible story. and we will be joined by the principal of ethan's school, a man who knows the little boy well. we will find out more about ethan as we have reported, he had suffered from asperger's and was obviously struggling this past week. and we will be talking about the big vote for the boy scouts. i know you all were talking about this. we have the numbers on just how influential mormons are in the
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boy scouts in terms of money and in terms of the number of boy scouts and it's pretty stunning. this decision really could come down to the mormon church. back to you guys. >> erin burnett "outfront" at the top of the hour. see you in a bit. thanks. the voice of the 1960s classic hit and karaoke staple has died. even if you're not familiar with reg presley or his band, the troggs, you have probably heard this. ♪ wild thing you make my heart sing ♪ you make everything groovy wild thing ♪ >> that's reg presley and the troggs performing "wild thing" back in the day. the band was an inspiration for other legendary groups, including the ramones and r.e.m. reg presley died at his home in
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britain after a battle with lung cancer. he was 71 years old. >> you love that song. wolf's favorite song. >> you make my heart sing. >> don't start singing yet. still ahead, a woman already was in enough trouble to be hauled into a courtroom but as you're about to see, things got a whole lot worse when she made a shockingly disrespectful gesture to that judge.
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here's cnn's jeanne moos. >> reporter: do not, repeat, do not try this in court. [ bleep ] >> come back again. >> reporter: 18-year-old penelope soto didn't just flip the judge the bird right off the bat. she built up to it. charged with possession of xanax, she and miami dade circuit judge got off to a rocky start at this bail hearing. >> i own a lot of jewelry, all right. >> how much would you say your jewelry's worth? it's not a joke. we are not in a club now. >> reporter: soon it started to sound like a scene out of "my cousin vinny." >> you on drugs? >> drugs? no. i don't take drugs. >> have you had any kind of drugs in the last 24 hours? >> actually, no. >> reporter: soto had no prior arrests so the judge set bail at $5,000. >> bye-bye.